No. 5 Armstrong Atlantic Holds Off Braves In Series Opener
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Fifth-ranked Armstrong Atlantic pounded out 11 hits, scored six times and got just enough from 10-game winner Ethan Bader en route to a 6-5 series-opening victory over visiting and 25th-ranked UNCP on Saturday afternoon at Pirate Field.
The loss snapped a three-game series winning streak for UNCP (29-16, 14-13 PBC) who is facing its fourth-straight nationally-ranked league opponent this weekend. PBC-leading Armstrong Atlantic (33-9, 10-5) used the victory to extend its winning streak out to 12 games.
Tyler Potter doubled and scored twice on a perfect 4-for-4 hitting line to pace UNCP, who also got a pair of hits from both Jordan Edgerton (2-for-3, R) and J.J. Williams (2-for-4, 2 RBI). Armstrong got base hits from nine different players, including two-hit outings from both John Roberts (2-for-3, R) and Mike Barnhill (2-for-3, RBI). Zach Taylor (1-for-4) also hit his league-leading 13th home run of the season for the Pirates as well.
Alex Pearce (7-4) surrendered six earned runs on 11 hits and a quartet of walks to saddle the loss for UNCP and snap the Rocky Mount native's personal five-game win streak. He also struck out five. Bader (10-3) allowed five earned runs on 11 hits and one walk, but picked up his 10th win of the season anyway thanks, in large part, to eight strikeouts as well. Chess Malone booked his second save of the campaign after working a hitless ninth inning.
UNCP scratched the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the top of the second, but the hosts tied the score with lone runs in each of their next two frames, and then grabbed the lead on Taylor's solo home run with two outs in the fifth. The Braves, however, would knot the score back up on Potter's RBI single in the top of the sixth.
The Pirates got their first two runners aboard in the sixth via infield singles, and then used three consecutive one-out singles to grab a 6-3 advantage. The Braves would climb to within a run on Aaron Parnell's sac fly in the seventh and a fielder's choice RBI by Williams in the following frame, but saw their two-out rally in the eighth fall short.